There's plenty to love about Apple's mobile OS. While it may not be the dominant smartphone OS anymore, iOS gets a lot of things right. The UI may not have changed much over the last 5 years but, even now, the attention to detail and sophistication beats the pants out of Android.
However, there are plenty of things that iOS can learn from Google's OS. We won't talk about things that we believe are unlikely to come - even Adobe has given up on Flash for mobile devices, and we don't think iOS will ever get file-handling capabilities, so, no, sharing files over Bluetooth won't get a mention.
Here are five features that we would love to see in the next iOS update.
1. Smart updates
Google recently flipped the switch on smart updates and we are already in love with the feature. With smart updates enabled, the next time your favourite app receives an update, your Android device will download only those parts of the app that have changed since the version you have on your device.
While this may not make much of a difference for small apps, this is a huge time (and bandwidth) saver for large apps like games. We would love to see this feature on iOS before the next time we have to update our copy of Infinity Blade II.
2. Install to device
One of the most convenient features in the Android world is, while downloading an app from Google Play website, having the ability to specify which device you want it installed on. Just select the device on the Google Play page of that app, and, boom, the app gets installed on that device. What seemed like science fiction a few years back has been around on Android for a while.
Sure, iOS lets you automatically download purchases on all devices via iCloud, but it's an all or nothing kind of approach. Either you enable download purchases automatically and see all your apps getting downloaded, or you leave it disabled and rely on syncing every time you want to install an app that you just downloaded via iTunes.
3. Smarter notifications
Apple has 'borrowed' Android-style notifications, but Google has stepped up the notifications game with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The latest Android version brings interactive notifications that, for example, include a callback button within a missed call notifications. Pretty neat. Expandable notifications are like having mini-apps sitting in your notifications bar. Hope Cupertino is taking notes.
4. Google Now
Apple was the first to the personal assistant game with Siri. While it is a great idea, it could be, as Google Now has shown, so much more.
While Apple's virtual assistant puts the user firmly in control, responding to your day-to-day and the not-so-mundane queries, Google Now takes a different approach. Google Now gets you just the "right information at just the right time", and the best part is all this happens automatically.
If you have an appointment at a specific location, Google Now tells you when to start your journey so you reach there in time. It gives you weather information before you start your day. Again, all this happens without you having to "ask" for information. "It just works", a phrase that Apple loves to use to describe its products, could well be used for Google Now.
We doubt Google would port much of this functionality to its iOS app given it'll be a great incentive for people to use Android instead of iOS. It is up to Apple to step up its game and add Google Now-like functionality to iPhone and iPad.
5. Pattern unlock
This one may be down to patent wars (there are some reports that Google has filed/ been granted a patent on Pattern unlock), but we sincerely wish we could unlock our iOS devices with a pattern, like our Android counterparts. It's more than just cool, it's a pretty handy way to unlock a device.